Stress has a way of slowly entering our lives. Once it is there, it tends to stay as an uninvited guest. Life challenges, change, and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic confront us unexpectedly. People tell us to take the challenges one step at a time or send us motivational messages to keep us going. Sometimes these messages work. Other times they are not helpful. In these moments of stress, we should turn to what children have known for centuries: the power of play. Children play without an adult telling them what to do. They find a sense of flow and get lost in imaginary worlds. What is even more critical is that play brings laughter, relaxation, and understanding beyond any motivational message. Here are five ideas to get playfulness back into your life.
1. Look back to your childhood and find a play memory
Revisiting memories of playing with a group of friends, or sometimes alone, can help us regain our childhood joy. Look for photographs that may trigger the memories, or take the time to write them down. Ask yourself:
Where were you?
What did you feel?
Who was with you?
Taking a moment to reflect on how you played as a child will increase your serotonin and invite you to re-engage with the moment. Do you remember that sense of freedom and ability to let go of any worries and concerns? Perhaps it is time to engage in those mementos of Playful Transformation that get you in the flow and release stress. Build a sandcastle, create a work of transient art using glass beads, or engage in a playful activity that brings you joy. As you play, notice the feelings that emerge, and write them down to remind you of the importance of play.
2. Make room for Playful Transformation
Now that you have recaptured your play memories, make a conscious choice to incorporate play into your daily life. Even a few minutes every day will make a difference in your health and your life. What do you enjoy doing that brings you joy? Do you explore, go on new adventures, gather with friends to play a game, try new leisure activities, or go on walks in nature? Whatever you decide, embrace it with passion and create a new play reality for yourself— a truth that will help you grow young and recapture your childhood genius.
3. Collect Loose Parts to support your play
There is joy in finding unexpected discoveries to play with and enjoy. A set of antique drawer pulls or doorknobs can spark your creativity and inspire you to use them in art. Seashells and sea glass found on a walk on the beach can engage you in creating jewelry. A day exploring garage sales or farmers' markets can lead to hours of play and creativity as you sort, classify, and find creative ways to use your finds. Find joy in discovering new things, and let your creative spirits flow.
4. Carve out time to play with friends
Invite friends to join you in play. Together you can plan and decide the way you will play. It can be creating a mural together or learning a new skill from each other. Perhaps you work on polymer clay combinations or explore color with cardstock. Maybe a game of cards or charades makes you laugh. Whatever you decide, remember that it is about the process of play and not a final project. Just laugh, relax, and enjoy each other's company. The most important thing is to make time to play in your busy schedule.
5. Develop a Playful Transformation attitude
It's never too late, and we are never too old to develop our playful and joyful sides. Let go of your inhibitions and find your childhood imagination. Let it emerge and embrace it. As adults, we may worry about being labeled as childish and inappropriate. However, remember the benefits of play are vast. Children who play are creative, innovative, and continuously discovering new ways of being in the world. Wouldn't you want to be childish if that leads to finding these qualities of childhood? When we were children, we need to remember that we took risks and did not worry about being rejected or criticized. You grow young by setting aside regular, quality playtime. The more you play, joke, and laugh, the more you grow young, find your childhood genius, and increase your creative flow!
How do you reawaken your creative spirit?
Welcome to the blog! The place where I play with words, play with questions, and often go down the rabbit hole.
I invite you to read and ask questions, be inspired, and discover your thoughts and ideas.